A government document ordering schools’ procurement of teaching materials that mark Nanjing as the capital of the Republic of China (ROC) and Taipei as the current location of the central government indicated President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s persistent attempts to promote the links between Taiwan and China, as well as the administration’s misinterpretation of the Constitution, lawmakers and academics said yesterday.
A photograph posted by National Taipei University of Education professor Lee Hsiao-feng (李筱峰) on Facebook yesterday, which showed a Ministry of Education document issued on Monday to schools nationwide, went viral on the Internet.
“The document reflects the Ma administration’s ideology and its state of mind as a government-in-exile, which the majority of Taiwanese do not agree with. We should not be surprised because Ma has always tried to go against the trend,” Lee said.
Photo downloaded from Lee Hsiao-feng’s Facebook page
The professor said the photo was taken by one of his students, who is a teacher.
“Although Taiwan and mainland China have been marked with different colors in the textbook, Nanjing should be the ROC capital and Taipei is the current location of the central government, according to the ROC Constitution,” the document said.
Due to universal standards in map legends, Taipei would still be marked as the capital on the maps in teaching materials, but teachers are obligated to clearly explain the complexity of the situation to their students, the ministry said in the document, which was sent to high schools, vocational schools, junior-high schools and elementary schools across the country, except for those in Taipei, Greater Kaohsiung and New Taipei City (新北市).
Lee said that Ma has been trying to sinicize teaching materials, for example by insisting on referring to the period during which Taiwan was a Japanese colony as the “Japanese occupation period” in high-school textbooks.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the Constitution does not designate any city as the capital.
“Ma has been using the Constitution as a political tool to link Taiwan with China and to endorse his initiative of ‘one country, two regions.’ Everyone knows it’s nonsense and his interpretation of cross-strait relations is far from reality,” Lee Chun-yi said.
Under Ma’s leadership, government officials’ interpretation of the nation’s status has been “absurd,” he added, citing the example of Mongolian and Tibetan Commission Minister Tsai Yu-ling (蔡玉玲), who recently said that Mongolia remains ROC territory.
Ma has been inconsistent, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said, as he said he wanted to “make Taipei a world-class capital city” when he served as Taipei mayor.
The DPP administration between 2000 and 2008 reiterated that Taipei is the ROC capital, Chen said.
“Judging by a series of policy changes during the Ma administration, it has been engaging in a ‘de-Taiwanization campaign’ in an attempt to brainwash students and to force Ma’s ‘one China’ ideology upon young people,” Chen said.
Later yesterday, the ministry official in charge of the matter said he would take full administrative responsibility for not making the ministry’s intent clear in the document.
The head of the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration Division, Chiu Chien-kuo (邱乾國), said that during the Period of Political Tutelage (訓政時期), it had been mentioned that the capital of the nation was Nanjing, but there was no such mention in the Constitution after its ratification.
Since the implementation of the Act Governing Principles for Editing Geographical Educational Texts (地理教科書編審原則) in 1997, the guiding principle for all maps in geographical textbooks was that Taipei was to be marked as the capital with a label stating: “Location of Central Government,” Chiu said.
The part in the ministry’s document mentioning Nanjing did not provide a detailed explanation, for which he extended his apology, saying he was willing to assume responsibility for any administrative lapse, he added.
Additional reporting by staff writer
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
STIMULUS FUNDS: Companies that report weak sales can apply for the financial aid, while subsidies for a one-time injection of working capital would also be available The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said that it would subsidize up to 40 percent of workers’ salaries for businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by a NT$39.6 billion (US$1.31 billion) budget — part of a newly expanded NT$1.05 trillion economic stimulus package approved by the Executive Yuan on Thursday — the ministry plans to assist companies with employee wages to help prevent job cuts. Companies facing an annual drop in sales of at least 50 percent for two consecutive months can apply for the financial aid, which would cover up to 40 percent of their employees’